Valencia to celebrate first generation college students


Valencia College

Valencia College celebrates its 50th annual Commencement ceremony at Addition Financial Arena on May 5, 2019 in Orlando, Fla.

Christian Casale, Editor-in-Chief

Valencia College will host its inaugural First Generation Student Day on November 7 at East Campus.

The college has invited employers to participate in a panel discussion at the Building Three Atrium from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. to discuss making professional connections, choosing a career, and succeeding in school.

First Generation Valencia staff and faculty will be available in Building Five’s Great Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to chat with students about their experiences in college. There will be free refreshments.

Defined as being the first of their nuclear family to attend college, first-generation college students make up more than 43 percent of Valencia College’s student population – according to the institutional research unit. 

Cindy Oakley, the Chair of the Committee of First Generation Students, was one of the administrators responsible for putting on the event.

“We wanted to create this event to celebrate being first-generation,” Oakley said. “To be the first person in your nuclear family to attend college is a real accomplishment.”

The college seems to want to foster support for students who may not have experience or knowledge of college and professional settings. According to a study from the U.S. Department of Education, nearly half of first-generation college students start out at a community college. They are also twice as likely to drop out within their first three years than those whose parents earned bachelor’s degrees.

Valencia’s celebration will be in conjunction with National First Generation Student Day on November 8.